Thanks to the Dutch Embassy, here is a list of items banned from the London Olympics. While a lot of these are commonsense, such as illegal drugs and fireworks, there are some items that are odd, if not downright strange. This list is non-inclusive, of course. It can also be amended at anytime by the Olympic authorities.
- food (save for baby food);
- alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (save for baby milk and other valid medical reasons);
- liquids in containers of greater than 100ml in size;
- needles (save as required for valid medical reasons);
- animals (save for assistance or guide dogs), weapons (including knives);
- illegal drugs and other illegal substances;
- fireworks, firecrackers;
- poles, flagpoles, sticks, large photographic equipment (including tripods), bats, large umbrellas and other blunt instruments;
- motorcycles, bicycles, roller-skates, skateboards, or other types of skates;
- electronic transmitting equipment,
- flags of countries not participating in the Games, large flags or banners;
- horns, whistles, drums, rattles, musical instruments, lasers or any other devices that in the opinion of LOCOG may disturb a Session;
- objects bearing trademarks or other kinds of promotional signs or messages (such as hats, T-shirts, bags, etc) which LOCOG believes are for promotional purposes and counterfeit products;
- balls, rackets, frisbees or similar objects;
- large quantities of coins, lighters;
- advertising or promotional material of any kind, printed matter bearing religious, political or offensive content or content contrary to public order and/or morality;
- bottles or containers made of glass or other material, flasks, thermoses, refrigerators;
- large objects such as suitcases or bags, and in general any material that LOCOG may deem dangerous or that may cause damage or disruption to a session.
The food ban probably has to do with the London organizers wanting to maximize profits. Alcohol probably fits into that as well, but at least it makes sense to restrict what people bring in because drunk, jingoistic sports fans are not a happy sight.
It gets interesting with banning items like flagpoles, refrigerators, roller skates and large quantities of coins. Are people really bringing this stuff to the games? Has there been a problem in the past with fans bringing their own flagpole to run up their country’s flag when that nation’s athlete wins a medal? Of course, a flagpole is inappropriate, but how would someone carry it into the games anyway?
It is also interesting to see that a country not participating in the games cannot have someone bring a banner or flag for that country. How can either of those be more disruptive than the fans of nations competing who wave their country’s banner during a contest? There are 205 countries participating in the games. A few of the notable absentees include Somalia, North Korea and Bhutan. Even rarer than the possibility of one of these nation’s fans disrupting the games is for a fan from those nations attending the games.
Anything to do with politics or religion is not allowed either, as well as electronic transmitting equipment. That last one is going to be tricky to enforce since thousands are going to try to take pictures with their cellphones and post them on places like Facebook.
It is simply a joke for the Olympic organizers to pretend that there is nothing political about these games. The games involve nations and the playing of national anthems for the winners. It does not get much more political than that. There is also a medal count kept for individual nations. If this was intended to be just a sporting event, then it would be a competition of individuals. Instead, this is a competition of political entities, but do not bother telling the organizers that. They do not want anything that hints of politics, even though the Olympics is one of the biggest political events around. We know how well keeping the Olympics apolitical went down during the Cold War. And the 1936 Olympics at Munich? Nothing political there, right Herr Hitler?
Compared to other sporting events, the Olympic organizers are killjoys. Some of the banned items have reasons based on security. That is acceptable. The other reasons are purely financial. The organizers want to squeeze every dime they can from the attendees. They make the Super Bowl look like a non-profit event.
They Olympics is a great event, but this is not what it was intended to be.